Hundreds welcome Garibaldi
On Friday evening, on Maya Island Air's last flight, Garibaldi arrived in San Pedro Town. Hundreds of people gathered at the Maya Island airstrip office for two hours to wait. They cheered and screamed at the Garibaldi group when they exited the aircraft. According to Garibaldi members, it was the warmest welcome they had ever received. Garibaldi arrived early in San Pedro and visited popular areas on the island before their performance on Saturday Night.
No rain for Gran Banda
Friday night, Honduras Night, was free of rain. Opening ceremonies commenced at 8:00 p.m. and MC Nuñez welcomed spectators to yet another night of celebration. The national anthems of Honduras and Belize were played and
MC Nuñez introduced the Ambassador of Honduras, Oscar Bueso. Ambassador Bueso, expressed his excitement and his pleasure in being at the festival. He wished everyone a good evening and hoped that they enjoyed the performances presented by the talented dancers and musicians of Honduras. Costa Maya Committee member, Lydia Chuc gave the welcoming address. She congratulated supporters of the festival for contributing to such a worthy cause and encouraged them to continue.
El Grupo de Dansas Folkloricas de Honduras performed during the cultural dance portion of the evening. The group's music was provided by their marimba band. Their opening and closing dances were a tribute to Honduras. They danced displaying a portrait of the Virgin Mary, their national flag and big blue letters spelling HONDURAS. Other dance pieces included the enactment of superstitious beliefs, legends and folklore songs. A folklore dance, performed to the song of El Vulture was especially liked by spectators. Three male dancers dressed as big black vultures danced on stage; while the lead dancer, dressed as a vulture with a big yellow beak, staggered through the audience. People laughed and cheered at his shenanigans. The dance group ended their presentation by inviting members of the audience to dance with them.
Aero-Caribe donated five round trip tickets from Belize to Cancun to the Costa Maya Festival. One of the tickets was raffled before the Gran Banda performed. The winning ticket belonged to Miss Melanie Halliday. The other winners were Thomas Paz Sr., Lydia Chuc and Marlenie Cocom.
The Gran Banda filled the stage with their presence after the dance group concluded their presentation. The vibrant young men of the band danced and sang non-stop until 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Two round trip tickets anywhere TACA flies were given as prizes to the two best dancers that evening. Five couples showed the cheering crowd what they were made of as they moved their bodies to the beat of the drums. The winners were the youngest couple, Pedro Lara and Claudia Victoria Badillo.
Garibaldi spelled out GLAMOUR with their performance
Belize International Night commenced with the introduction of MC Nuñez and the playing of the national anthem. The rain came and the festival was delayed for over an hour. Costa Maya Committee member Eiden Salazar, gave the welcome address after the rain ended. He spoke of the importance of the festival and thanked everyone for being so supportive.
The Belize Dance Company danced for an hour and performed interpretations of several Belizean folklore songs, such as Free Town Gial No Got No Wata Fi Wash Y Skin! The group danced to punta, soca, calypso and broke-down music. Their lively music and bright Belizean costumes brought the stage to life.
Santino's Messengers, the number one band in Belize, opened for Garibaldi with great Belizean music to move the soul. They performed for about an hour before Garibaldi's appearance at midnight. They enticed the crowd with their sultry punta, soca and salsa selections.
Promptly at midnight, Mr. Nuñez took center stage and called out Garibaldi to the stage. "Vamos a la fiesta" (Lets go to the party) was their opening song. And the "Fiesta" was hot. Garibaldi's four gorgeous ladies and four hunky men exploded with charm, charisma, and a tremendous amount of energy. With their seductive nature and their good looks they bewitched the huge crowd who had rushed to the stage to get the best view of their favorite Garibaldi member. Many of the songs were new to the people of San Pedro but it did not take them long to learn a couple of songs and to start singing along with Garibaldi. "La Bolita" and "La Ventanita" were the crowd's favorites. Belize International Night proved to be a huge success once again and both Garibaldi and the people of San Pedro fell in love with each other.
Final night, the best ever
The final night of the Costa Maya Festival was a big surprise to the committee members. Attendance for the evening was superb, considering at all other closing nights of the festival attendance had only been fair.
The crowds accumulated slowly at the grounds as they watched the dance performances of Vellie's Dance Group and Barbara Brown's Dance Group. Vellie's Dance Group consisted of a group of young children dancing to traditional Mexican music. Barbara Brown's Dance Group consisted of older teenage girls who danced to more contemporary pop music.
A special presentation to the town of San Pedro took place after the dances. Skin Diver's Magazine inducted Belize into the Skin Diver's Travel Hall of Fame, naming it the Atoll Diving Center of the Caribbean. Rick Frehsee, Skin Diver's Magazine staff writer for Central America, and Christy Radican, Marketing Manager for Skin Diver's Magazine for the region, presented the award to Gach Guerrero who received the award on behalf of San Pedro Town.
After the award presentation was over, the Unity Band took the stage. The Unity Band performed new songs which they had been practicing for months before the Festival. The crowd loved their new songs and a large group of people gathered below the stage to dance to their lively music.
Santino's Messengers followed the Unity Band after a short break from the rain. They played until the close of the Festival. Join us next year in San Pedro for the next Costa Maya Festival which will take place July 20th-25th, 1999. Come celebrate with all five Mundo Maya Countries and participate in the biggest festival in the country of Belize: The San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival.
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